Yup today believe it or not is the 26th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda….the original….The game that defined adventure gaming for years.  The basic plot revolves around a boy named Link who is tasked with saving Princess Zelda (really Shigeru? another princess? poor Mario…..) from Ganon.  To this Link (you) must reassemble the Triforce, a powerful ancient artifact.  The odd thing is that you need to collect 8 pieces….of the TRIforce…..yeah….see what I’m getting at? Hope so cause I ain’t explaining it.  Anyways the game was released in Japan, today February 21, 1986.  It was the launch title for the Famicom Disk System, which allowed you to save your game.  Some of you may release that this was about a year and a half before it was released in the US, mainly because the Disk System never made it here.  So Nintendo put it on a cartridge that included a battery so you could save.

Myamoto was the brain child of Super Mario Brothers that was released a year before in 1985, what most people didn’t know was that he and his team were working on The Legend of Zelda at the same time.  One of the huge differences in the two games (other than one being a side scrolling platform game) was that Zelda was not linear.  You could play most of the game in any order that you wanted.  It was also one of the first games that pushed the boundries when it came to a game world.  The land of Zelda was an actual world, map and all.  The game consisted of an outside world and dungeons.  when the game was officially released on cartridge in the us, it was a gold cartridge, the original boxes also had an opening to let people see the gold cartridge.  Within a year of the original release a sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was released.

The game was Nintendo’s second game to sell over a million copies, the first being Super Mario Brothers.  The game was so successful, that it even had its own tv show for a bit, and was one of the first Nintendo games to be merchandises with watches, guidebooks and even a breakfast cereal.  It has remained influential to this day, lots of new RPG games have elements similar to Zelda.  It also is still widely popular, finishing among the tops in many top game lists to this day.  17 years after its release it was ported to the Gameboy advanced and still sold like ice cream in the desert, and even got ratings almost as high as the original.

The game has a rich back story given in the instruction booklet (the what?) and through the in game prologue.  It’s based in a land called Hyrule.  The Prince of Darkness, Ganon, invaded the kingdom to steal the Triforce of Power, an artifact that is capable of giving great strength to who ever holds it.  Princess Zelda, doesn’t like the idea of the Prince of Darkness holding on to it so she gets hold of it, breaks it into 8 parts, then hides them in various dungeons to keep Ganon from getting them.  Now’s when you come in, Impa, Zelda’s nurse maid is sent by Zelda to find a man that can destroy Ganon.  Of course Ganon doesn’t appreciate this, so he sends troops after Impa and then, in typical Nintendo fashion, locks up Zelda.

So, for some reason (probably space limitations on the cartridge and disk) Impa’s story is in the manual, so if you decide to play the game, read the manual! Anyway according to the story, she was surrounded by the bad guys, as they moved in on her she was saved by a young man who drives the monsters off.  She of course tells him what happens and he in true heroic fashion vows to rescue Zelda and save the land.  I think you can see where this is going….Link gathers all the eight Triforce pieces and yada yada yada.

So there you have it, a quick overview to an amazing game (yes even with 8 bit graphics and sound) that still stands the test of time.  This game appealed to all kinds of people, I know people that never played any video games other then Zelda.  Its a great game and if you can get your grubby little paws on it I highly recommend it  I would also like to thank http://www.thinkgeek.com ‘s twitter account for reminding me of what today was, well other than Fat Tuesday.  So check them out also.  Well thanks for reading and I hope you learned something!

John

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